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Mariposa Museums

California State Mining and Mineral Museum
5005 Fairgrounds Dr.- 209-742-7625 Located at the fairgrounds on Hwy. 49. Housed in a building with a model of a stamp mill and a mining tunnel burrowed into the hillside, you will find one of the largest exhibits of gems, fossils, and minerals in the world. You will see over 20,000 unique specimens, many of which were discovered during the mid and late 1800's, now donated to the state for safekeeping and for the enjoyment and education of the public. See California Meteorites, Historic Mining Artifacts, Benitoite - The State Gemstone, California Diamonds and gems and minerals from around the world. The highlight of the gold exhibit is the Fricot Nugget, one of the finest and largest specimens of native gold in existence weighing 201.40 troy ounces. Exhibits change frequently, making a return trip to the museum well worth your while. Admission: $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for seniors 60 and up and students and children 14 to 18. Children under 13 are free. Hours: Summer; daily 10am - 6pm, except Tuesdays. Winter; Wednesday-Sunday 10am - 4pm.

Mariposa County History Museum - 5119 Jessie St. - 209-966-2924
The museum was founded in 1957 and considered one of the best small museums in America by the Smithsonian Institute. You will find the people and life style in Mariposa County from the Indian and Spanish periods to the infamous California Gold Rush as well as the recent past are portrayed with great authenticity. You will see original documents, artifacts and artwork. Gold displays and Native American baskets are just a few items to enjoy. On display is a large stamp mill, a typical one room miner's cabin and displays of the life style of the West's most famous explorer and Mariposa County resident, John C. Fremont, and his wife, Jessie. There is a docent to answer questions and you can arrange for a private tour for your group. Donations are accepted. Hours: January - closed; February and March - weekends 10am - 4pm; April through October - daily 10am - 4pm; November and December - weekends
10am - 4pm.

Historical Buildings

Mariposa County Courthouse - information: 209- 966-2456.
A State of California Historical Landmark (No. 670), and the oldest courthouse in continuos use west of the Rockies and the third oldest in the nation as well as being on the National Register of Historical Places. The courthouse was built in 1854 and you can still find the original furnishings in the upstairs courtroom, where the room still shakes when the clock tower strikes the time. Still in use as the judicial seat of Mariposa, the building is open to the public. Tours are available on Sat. and Sun. during the months of May through Sept. Donations are accepted. Call the Chamber of Commerce for information.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church - built in 1863.

One of the oldest jails in California - built in 1859 with natural granite stones. The jail was used once in 1960. You will find a receiving area and four cells in this Mariposa Jail.

Trabucco Warehouse - built in 1866.

Schlageter Hotel - built in 1866.

Gazette Office - old newspaper in continued publication in California.

Mt. Ophir - Private mint coined $50.00 gold slugs in 1850's.

Historic Walking Tour - pick up a map at the Mariposa Visitors Bureau and take a self guided tour to the many buildings featured on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you want to see an example of an authentic California gold rush town, then visit Coulterville, designated as State Historical Landmark No. 332. Coulterville has changed very little since the turn of the century. The Hotel Jeffery and Magnolia Saloon are still family owned and operated and have been since 1851. Be sure and visit the Northern Mariposa County History Center. The museum tells the history of Coulterville and descendants of the early day pioneers have donated family items and historical documents.

The only town in the County to ever be incorporated, Hornitos was established in 1848 or 1849. Because the ground was very hard and rocky, when someone died they were buried above ground in tombs made of rock and adobe that resembled little outdoor ovens. The Mexicans referred to them as " hornitos" the Spanish work for little ovens.Hornitos had a tumultuous reputation in the mid 1800's, the notorious bandit, Joaquin Murietta, was a frequent visitor to this wild west town. Today you can see reminders of the past in the now peaceful town. Many historic buildings still stand for your pleasure, Domingo Ghiradelli's chocolate store built in 1885, the old jail and St. Catherine's Catholic Church and cemetery, built before 1869, viewing the town from atop a hill.

Greeley Hill
You can still find people prospecting today for the abundance of gold undiscovered from the many gold mines during the 1800's. During the 1800's Greeley Hill was a stage stop for the stagecoach on its way to Yosemite. One of the first highways to Yosemite was built nearby to accommodate the popular automobiles.

Bear Valley
Home to Col. John C. Fremont, who made and lost his fortune in gold. You will see many historical buildings still in use today.

Yosemite National Park - a must see when visiting Mariposa County. See
breathtaking beauty, awesome water falls and experience the many recreational
activities available to everyone of all ages. Things To Do - Morning Nature Hike, Flashlight Hike, Waterfall Hike, Lead Horse Corral Ride, Easy Forest Ride(Horseback), Challenging Forest Ride(Horseback), Mariposa Grove Ride(Horseback), Fly Fishing, Fishing, Camp Tenaya, Mountain Biking, White Water Rafting, Bird Watching, Jamboree Cookout, Moonlight Special, Jazz at Yosemite, Fitness Center, Photo Walk, Rock Climbing, Guided Day Hike, Bloomin' Great Wildflower Hikes, Video Arcade, Children's Hike, Gold Panning, Wagon Rides, High Country 4-Wheelin'

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